Friday, November 20, 2009

President Hinckley Passing -- My Thoughts at the Time

****I realized that I never published this post for some reason almost 2 years ago. I thought I would go ahead and put it up, even though it has been so long. Did I mention that I loved President Hinckley?****

Originally written February 2008

"I believe he was a true prophet but it didn't hurt that he was a genius, too."
Elder Marlin K. Jensen

I know that there have been many eulogies written for President Hinckley since his death a few weeks ago, but I thought I would write down a few thoughts of my own. I have been surprised at my own emotional response to his passing. I think just about every member of the church sensed what a special prophet and leader he was. He definitely left his mark on the church, nation and world.

I read the Sherry Dew's biography of President Hinckley about 6 years ago and I don't think I have ever been so thoroughly inspired by a book. In some ways his life was so ordinary, but he humbly transcended his simple roots to be the most important and inspirational leader I have ever personally followed. His good nature and sense of humor allowed him to teach me that life is tough sometimes, but accepting that truth, there is always something positive to be accentuated and to be grateful for. He believed deeply in simple, true principles of living a good life and being a good person.

I felt such a personal connection to him when he spoke. I cannot count how many times I testified to people on my mission that he was a true and living prophet of God.

His teaching style usually avoided the doctrinal nitty-gritty. And yet, he was a master of wrapping the most complex doctrines of the gospel into basic principles of honest living and hard work, two hallmarks of his long and fruitful life. Of course, he was no doctrinal or historical lightweight. In fact, he was a scholar of church and world history. In many ways he literally "wrote the book" on how the modern church sees itself historically.

When he died, I cried as I read some of the online published accounts of his life. Not really because I am sad, although I do feel like I have lost a close personal friend. He left a huge, indelible mark on my spiritual identity that I will cherish forever.


Danalin said...

I was just thinking about President Hinckley this week - about the fact that I won't ever stop missing him. Although great men are leading the Church now, and surely will in the future, there was something about President Hinckley that captured a lot of hearts...mine very much included. Thanks, babe, for reminding us of this wonderful man and his goodness. You're not such a bad man yourself. :)

Tankfos said...

I also had similar feelings with the passing of President Hinckley. I have no memories of any other prophet before President Hinckley and so my idea of what a prophet is or should be is almost entirely shaped by President Hinckley. Although I strongly believe that Pres. Monson is a prophet and speaks for God I remember thinking it was weird to think of him as the prophet.

Jeff said...

I had the experience last week of teaching the Elder's Quorum lesson about the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. While preparing I learned that many years after Joseph's death, after recovering from his own near-death experience at Carthage, John Taylor wrote a hymn call "Oh, Give Me Back my Prophet Dear." I don't think I've ever heard that hymn, but when I heard the title, I was hit by a wave of sadness(and some welling tears) about President Hinckley's death, even though it was 2 years ago. I love the prophet Joseph, but when I think about my own "Prophet Dear," I think of Gordon B Hinckley. I love him and I miss him very much. Thanks for your post.

Dad said...

Thanks for the reminder. I have to tell you that President's Hinckley's passing hit me hard also. As all the prophets have been since I have been a member of the church, I remember thinking "I can't every imagine the Church without Presdident Hinckley" However, in my case, I remember that very same strong feeling when Presdient Kimball passed. He was the prophet when I joined the church and so for 15 years or so " I couldn't imagine the Church without President Kimball' Such a spiritual giant and sweet, kind man!! He will always be "my" prophet. But I felt similiar towards Presdient Benson as well. So I was used to "losing" my prophet. President Hinckley was definitely a giant and you kind of felt like he was family. His optimism and humor and testimony of the Savior will always stick with me. He was a wonderful, inspirational leader.
I loved him and very saddened to see him leave us. The Lord needed Gordon on the other side and I can't help smiling thinking of the reunion he had with his beloved Majorie. He was ready to go back to her, I'mm sure. He worked so long and so hard while here on the earth, I was glad to see him relieved of his earthly duties and able to return to her and whatever work the Lord has for him on the other side.

Elizabeth said...

I will always remember singing "We Thank Thee Oh God For A Prophet" in General Conference just before President Hinckley passed away. We all stood to sing and I thought about how people all over the world felt as I did; so grateful for this wonderful, humble, servant of the Lord.

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